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tv   [untitled]    November 2, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm PDT

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♪ >> i am mellisa griffin, a columnist and member of the san
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francisco league of women voters. i am here is city hall with the league and sfgtv to discuss prop h that will be on this year's november ballot. ♪ >> prop h would make it official city policy to encourage the san francisco unified school district to establish certain priorities for assigning students to specific schools. currently, parents may apply for their children to attend any school in the school district. if a school does not have space for all applicants, the school district and immense students based on certain priorities, such as whether they're older siblings attend the same school, whether the student lives in the schools attendance area, or whether the students elementary school is a designated feeder school for the middle school. prop h when they get city policy to encourage the school district to ensure that all students have the opportunity to attend a
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quality neighborhood school. after signing siblings to the same school, the highest priority should be to assign each student to the schools close to their homes. finally, the school district should provide students with the opportunity to attend schools with language immersion rather special programs, even if those schools are not close to their homes. ♪ i am here with kris miller, chairperson of students first, a group that sponsored prop h. ms. miller, thank you for being here. why should voters vote for prop h? >> for starters, the reason that prop h was adopted to begin with is roughly 14,000 signatures from san francisco county voters that also, as i do, feel passionately about children being able to attend schools near their neighborhoods. it makes sense. everyone automatically assumes that the child attends a school near their neighborhood or has that option in san francisco.
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as we know, from previous policies in different things with in government here, san francisco is special. san francisco is definitely special in this respect, that we have not followed suit with many of the major metropolitan cities and allow parents the right to automatically opt into their neighborhood schools. san francisco has been having issues with this policy for years. there are thousands of parents who have left the city, over 5000 since the 2000 census. since the mid-1960s, we have lost a little under half of our student population. this is one of the major reasons why. prop h is basically simply proposing that parents or children within certain neighborhood school areas are given the option of sending their children to the school in closest proximity to their home. that is all we are proposing, nothing more. just that within the current
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citywide lottery system, that parents are given the option of sending their children to school near their home, as opposed to being bussed across town, where were the district decides the children will go. that is basically the premise of prop h. >> opponents have argued that the current school assignment system does give substantial weight to a child's geographic location when deciding -- one assigning the to a school. how do you respond? it's very simply, one, that comment is not factually based. roughly 30% of parents in the city, according to the school district -- we're not sure if these are accurate numbers, a roughly 30% of the parents in the san francisco unified school district are opting to send their children to their neighborhood schools. for some reason, they're not able to honor that. a seemingly small number of
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parents. the fourth consideration -- out of four considerations for the placement system, never the proximity is the fourth. in most cases, within many different school districts, it does not come into consideration because the schools are full of the time to get to that proximity consideration. not only that, but that is only for elementary school placement. in middle school and high school, this consideration has been completely taken away. there's absolutely no consideration whatsoever. it is a citywide lottery system period. so that statement is not true. i just gave you the facts. if you want to look it up on iran, it is right on the website -- if you want to look it up on your own. >> it is argued that keeping children in their neighborhoods will lead to gentrification in san francisco. how do you respond? >> i will tell you what it will actually lead to from the actual perspective, not from a
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hypothetical perspective that is not based on this a big numbers. if you look at the statistics, from the current policies, they do not focus heavily on a neighborhood school-based placement system. in the last 10 years, we have moved further and further towards segregation within our school district. the interesting thing is, the current system does not focus heavily on neighborhood school proximity, and the reason for that is to keep the school ever spent to give children more opportunity in areas and better performing schools that would not otherwise have the opportunity to go to a higher performing schools. right now, we actually have a huge issue with schools re segregating in the last 10 years. if the current policies are re segregating the schools in san francisco, one would assume that parents and voters in the city would vote to change that policy. if we are asking for the opposite of what they are, presumably we are going to be either improving the situation,
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are in the worst-case scenario it will stay the same. so that allegation makes no sense from a fact-based perspective. >> thank you so much, ms. miller. next, we will hear from an opponent of prop h. ♪ i am now with rachel from the san francisco board of education. the board of education recently voted unanimously to oppose prop h. thank you for being here. why do you oppose prop h? >> for several reasons. first, it is not well-written, and has a lot of unintended consequences. primarily, i oppose it because it is a very simplistic way of dealing with a very complex problem. i have been working on student assignment, but as a parent -- for many years, i put my kids through the process. i have talked to parents across the city as a candidate for public office. since i was elected to the board, the board has been the
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last two years working on a news to defend a policy. it is the most complex problem i have ever worked on in my personal or professional life. and i do not think that is the kind of thing that can be resolved by a voter checking a yes or no on the ballot box. >> recent census numbers show that families with small children have been leaving the city in record numbers because of people would argue that the current school assignment system has something to do with that. do you believe the current system is working? >> i do the the current system is working. we spend a lot of time and a lot of money, a lot of resources, redesigning the system, because we knew we had a problem. one of the things we try to address was balancing the needs of parents. there are parents in parts of the city that feel they do not have access to high performing schools. while we work on the schools across the city, we want to give everybody access to all schools. in addition, a lot of families said they wanted more predictability in the school
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assignments. i do think that the predictability issue is something that may frighten parents of young children. so we revised it and added a proximity component and a predictability component that i think as address those concerns while still giving parents access to high performing schools wherever they want them to be. >> prop h is merely a statement of policy. what you think that the actual practical effect if prop h passes? >> honestly, i do not think there's going to be much of a practical effect, because the school board has been very clear, and i am being very clear what the voters now, that this is the direction that we are going. that we have spent a lot of time, a lot of effort, going through data, talking to people, looking at what other district do, looking at our census data, having demographic projections, and we think, as we monitor the system going forward, that is
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flexible and we can make changes and respond to trends. but we think we're moving in the right direction. >> even proponents of this ballot measure and said we're going in the right direction. >> thank you so much. we hope this has been informative. for additional affirmation about this or other measures, visit the san francisco league of women voters website. early voting is available at city hall monday through friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. if you do not bode early, be sure to vote on november 8. thank you. ♪ >> the san francisco cons tri of flowers in golden gate park is now showing a new exhibit that changes the way we see the plants around us. amy stewart's best-selling book, "wicked plants" is the inspiration behind the new exhibit that takes us to the dark side of the plant world.
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>> i am amy stewart. i am the arthur of "wicked plants," the weeds that killed lincoln's mother and other botanical atrocities. with the screens fly trap, that is kind of where everybody went initially, you mean like that? i kind of thought, well, all it does is eat up bugs. that is not very wicked. so what? by wicked, what i mean is that they are poisonous, dangerous, deadly or immoral or maybe illegal or offensive or awful in some way. i am in the profession of going around and interviewing botanists, horticulturalists and plant scientists. they all seem to have some little plant tucked away in the corner of a greenhouse that maybe they weren't supposed to have. i got interested in this idea that maybe there was a dark side to plants. >> the white snake root.
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people who consumed milk or meat from a cow that fed on white snake root faced severe pain. milk sickness, as it was culled, resulted in vomiting, tremors, delirium and death. one of the most famous victims of milk sickness was nancy hangs lincoln. she died at the age of 34, leaving behind 9-year-old abraham lincoln. he helped build his mother's casket by carving the woodallen petition douche the wooden petition himself. >> we transformed the gallery to and eerie victorian garden. my name is lowe hodges, and i
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am the director of operations and exhibitions at the conls tore of -- cons tore of flowers. we decided it needed context. so we needed a house or a building. the story behind the couple in the window, you can see his wife has just served him a glass of wine, and he is slumped over the table as the poison takes affect. a neat little factold dominion about that house is actually built out of three panels from old james bond movie. we wanted people to feel like i am not supposed to be in this room. this is the one that is supposed to be barred off and locked up. >> the ole andersonner -- oleander. this popular shrub is popular in warm climates. it has been implicated in a surprising number of murders
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and accidental deaths. children are at risk because it takes only a few leaves to kill them. a southern california woman tried to collect on her husband's life insurance by putting the leaves in his food. she is now one of 15 women on california's death rowan the only one who attempted to murder with a plant. >> people who may haven't been to their cons tore or been to -- do serve tore or their botanical garden, it gives them a reason to come back. you think let's go and look at the pretty flowers. these are pretty flowers, but they are flowers with weird and fascinating stories behind them. that is really fun and really not what people normally think of when they come to a horticultural institution. >> "wicked plants" is now
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showing at the san francisco conserve tore of flowers. unless next time, get out and play.
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